Oil free balsamic vinaigrette is creamy, flavorful and easy to make. Use this vinaigrette on your favorite salad, drizzled over veggies or as a delicious marinade. You’ll quickly fall in love with this oil free dressing.
Making a vinaigrette that is oil free and actually tastes good has taken some practice. When I first learned about oil free cooking I was completely flummoxed. As a chef this was a completely new concept to me. How can you cook without oil? Is that even possible?!
As chefs we learn to start most dishes with some sort of oil. Adding it to a pan for sauteing, drizzling it over veggies for roasting, and adding it as the base to our dressings is just what we do. Right?! Not anymore.
So, when I started cooking without oil, some things like sauteing came pretty easy to me. Other things, like tweaking my dressings and sauces took a little work. I am happy to say I have mastered oil free dressings and I am excited to share my favorite with you here.
How to make a No Oil Vinaigrette
A traditional vinaigrette in its purest form is three parts oil to one part vinegar. You can build on the flavors from there adding emulsifiers, herbs, spices, salt, and other flavors. So, what happens when you take out the 3 parts oil? The dressing turns out thin, watery and tastes potently of vinegar. This is okay in some instances, but I also like to have a sturdier dressing at times.
So, how do you solve this problem? Nuts and seeds are a great stand-in for oil in salad dressings. Nuts and seeds are a whole food plant based fat that blends into a creamy and tasty no-oil salad dressing.
Start by soaking nuts or seeds and dates for a couple of hours if you don’t have a high powered blender like a Vitamix. Next, drain the water from the nuts and dates and add them along with the rest of the ingredients to a blender container. Blend on high until thick and creamy, scraping down the sides a few times. Add more water as necessary to reach the desired consistency of your oil free dressing.
Store no-oil dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The vinaigrette will thicken slightly as it sits. Stir in a little water to thin it out and enjoy!
Substitutions for Oil Free Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Use any nuts or seeds in place of the sunflower seeds in this recipe.
- Raisins can be used in place of the dates.
- Use regular mustard in place of the dijon.
- Replace some or all of the balsamic with another flavor of vinegar. There are an array of vinegars out there that can amp up the flavors of your food. Dressings are a fun place to experiment.
How do I use No-Oil Balsamic Vinaigrette?
This versatile dressing can be used in many dishes. Here’s a few ideas:
- Use as a salad dressing
- Marinate veggies before roasting or grilling
- Marinate tofu before roasting or grilling
- Drizzled over baked sweet potato fries
- Drizzle over grain bowls with roasted veggies
Oil Free Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup dates
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- If you don't have a high powered blender like a Vitamix, soak the sunflower seeds and dates in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- Add all ingredients to a blender container and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides a couple times to remove any debris on the sides of the blender. Add more water as necessary to reach desired consistency of dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!